Participants: Michał Budny, Jerzy Rosolowicz, Krzysztof Pijarski

Contemporary attempts at experiencing reality originate in distrust, which has been directed, not only by the artists, at the representation itself. The discussion on the mechanisms of representation and on the systems of communication is constantly present in the mediated world. Although hitherto perceptible reality has been replaced by the reality from the mass-media and the issue of «original» does not find its place in it, «live experience» of reality is still an attainable alternative. Having in mind the elusiveness of the act of perception and the growing technical machinery, one needs to acknowledge that a «private research on reality» does not claim the right to infallible judgments. These have been left to scientists: physicians, chemists and biologists who study the molecular constitution of our environment. This research seems to be rather a solely individual proposal - a proposal from a farther perspective and of slightly utopian character, which can both cause a certain discomfort or remain completely unnoticed.
A reflection on mechanisms of representation proposed by artists seems to be a sort of private gesture, a «modest proposal». Modest, because realized in a fugitive material, modest because their potency lies in reach of an individual. In this way one can imagine a postulate of an art showing the world otherwise than it is or seems to be. Through intimate, private contact with the viewers, such a «modest proposal» creates a new space for personal statements, which have chance to replace fictions hitherto prepared by mass-media and to change the world by changing individual ways of thinking and observing. This «modest proposal» proposed by Michał Budny, Jerzy Rosolowicz and Krzysztof Pijarski may provide a common ground for the discussion of their artistic projects offered the reality and the possibilities of its perception.

The works of Michał Budny seem to involve twofold trouble. Such a delicate and fugitive material as paper, which has been chosen by the artist to construct his objects takes up hours of laborious work devoted to their precise cutting and combining. Similarly it takes a great effort to give matter to what is originally immaterial: light coming to a room through a window (Light, 2004), space between blocks of flats (Air, 2003), a wall of rain (Rain, 2003).

The Neutral Action, postulated by Jerzy Rosolowicz in his essay On Neutral Action (1967), does not serve anyone and is able, at the same time, to serve everybody. Its result may occur both in material and nonmaterial values completely useless - a sort of a form of inexorable function - “conscious neutral action involves all those activities of man which bring him neither benefit nor harm”. The Neutral Action, usually described by the comparison to a chemical reaction of neutralisation of acidic reaction, should neutralise negative values in the field of culture by the positive values. Deprived of radicalism, the neutral action is a kind of surplus in the context of man’s intentional actions, which, in effect, allows for obtaining optimal values both in its individual and social aspects. Handmade Neutronicons (Neutronikony) with faulty lenses installed inside reflect a deformed reality, also an upside-down one. These seemingly neutral and transparent objects usually used to absorb light “in which all forms repeat and complement themselves in a monotonous way, without any tension or contrast” (1), in space now influenced by the sunlight become threatening, blinding and aggressive. They produce images deforming both the space and the organ of seeing.

«Real fiction» - that is how Krzysztof Pijarski’s proposal could be called. It touches upon the problem of how the “live experience” has become involved within mass-media and various systems of communication. For Flusser “photography” provides a tool for restoration of the unity into the defragmented world. By “imagining the world”, or in other words, “embodying it into an image” (ger. einbilden) one preserves it and, at the same time, saves it. Though seemingly real, Pijarski’s photos, during the process of close-reading reveal their structure of pixels, various interruptions and breaks. These photos attempt at grasping the diffused elements of the world and at decoding the information they include in order to construct a unity which could become a sort of tale demanding an attitude towards its narration and metaphorical structure.

It may seem paradoxical that individual and private gestures with their delicate matter occur so powerful and intense. Originating from the sphere so close to each one of us, these gestures are able to show things other than they are or seem to be. Deprived of artificiality yet substantial and current they address the surrounding reality, to a normal being and existing conditions. They suggest nothing, they simply are there. In the similar way as Rosolowicz’s paintings, about which Ludwinski wrote at the end if the sixties, that they could be seen as “tools to catch a viewer, to catch fragments of reality. It is not necessary though. They are so perfect in their intentional lack of intention that they could be compared to clothes so well-sewed that no one even notices that mastery.” (2)

Magdalena Ziólkowska

Special thanks to: Michał Budny, Krzysztof Pijarski, Jaroslaw Kozlowski, Pawel Polit, Raster Gallery, Wojtek Grzybala, Iza Bil and Piotr Gacki from Melon Studio, Pawel Sulisz, Katarzyna Bojarska, Tadeusz Matan and Relax Photo (www.relax-foto.pl), Arkadiusz Bernas and Polish Institute in Budapest, Foksal Gallery Foundation.

Works presented on the exhibition:

  1. Michał Budny
    1. Air, 2003
      photo: Wojtek Grzybala
    2. CD players (Discmans), 2003
      photo: Wojtek Grzybala
    3. Rain, 2004
  2. Krzysztof Pijarski
    three black-white photographs from the cycle 22, 2004, silver gelatin prints
  3. Jerzy Rosolowicz
    1. color slides from Jaroslaw Kozlowski’s flat in Poznan, with one of Neutronikons by
      Jerzy Rosolowicz
      photo: Magda Ziolkowska
    2. tape with Jaroslaw Kozlowski reading a text by Jerzy Rosolowicz On Neutral Action
    3. Jerzy Rosolowicz - A Concerto for 28 Pillows and a Sunset, 1968
    4. Jerzy Rosolowicz - The Sphere, 1964
    5. multimedial presentation of documentation of Jerzy Rosolowicz projects including:
      Neutrdrom, 1967
      Kreatorium of the Millennium Stalagmatic Columns, 1970
      Kineutronikon, 1975
      Utensil for Catching Dew, 1974
      Telehydrographic no 7, dedicated to Zbigniew Makarewicz, 23 Febr. 1980
      Telehydrographic no 99, dedicated to Barbara Kozlowska, 8 March 1980

  1. 1. Jerzy Ludwinski, Mimikra neutrdromu, 1968, in: Jerzy Ludwinski, Epoka blekitu, Kraków 2003, p. 118. >
  2. 2. Ibidem, p. 120. >